When an employer violates workers’ rights, they not only face the potential for lawsuits and financial settlements, they can also receive unwelcome public scrutiny and possible damage to the business’s reputation.
This is the position online retail behemoth Amazon currently finds itself in. Over recent weeks and months, many reports have come out alleging violations from unpaid wages to unsafe work conditions. And workers in Minnesota are among those making these claims.
“Extreme” worker injury rates
According to a recent study by the National Employment Law Project, the Amazon warehouses in Minnesota have a worker injury rate that is four times higher than the average national rate.
The company’s own records show that about 1 out of 9 workers has been hurt while working in one of Amazon’s warehouses per year since 2018.
Individuals have said that injuries often happen because workers are under pressure to work incredibly fast without adequate breaks. This approach creates an environment where speed trumps safety and workers are pushed beyond their limits to meet employer demands.
Other troubling conditions
In addition to the workplace safety concerns in these warehouses, workers are also confronting issues like:
- Unpaid wages
- Dismissal of workplace concerns
- Racial pay inequities
- Harmful surveillance practices
These allegations have put the company’s behavior under scrutiny. They have also triggered legal claims and prompted Minnesota lawmakers to pursue legislative efforts to tackle these unfair and unsafe practices.
Large or small, companies must comply with employment laws
A company does not need to be the size of Amazon to commit egregious violations against workers. Unfortunately, employers of all sizes and in all industries engage in unfair practices that violate or threaten employee rights.
When this happens, employees should understand that there are legal remedies to correct wage violations and hold employers accountable for unlawful policies or actions.